I’m struggling right now because Father’s Day is coming. My dad is dead and I am nearly divorced from my husband. I have children who are 17, 21 and 24. My 21-year-old is autistic but verbal.
What do I do about these special holidays, Father’s Day, Christmas, and birthdays for him?
Personally I don’t want to do anything but every time I pass a card display I just about have a conniption of sadness thinking about the day going by and him not getting anything, because I don’t think the kids are actually going to do anything.
We’ve had a restraining order against him for over a year and although that has gone by the wayside now there are hard feelings. And the kids own some of those feelings on their own. Things were tough before we separated and things have been tough through this year of separation. There were times when he was excruciatingly mean to us.
I have had a conversation with all of them telling them what they do for him for these holidays is on them at this point because they are all adults or nearly adults.
I’m not really asking you what I should do for him. I know that you would probably say just continue to be no contact. It’s not my job. But what do I do for me? Because believe it or not, the lack of a Father’s Day is a big void for me. And as I sit here with tears in my eyes over this, I can’t even believe I feel this way.
So I guess what I would ask is what did you do to get over not doing Father’s Day for the x?
Me? I can’t say I ever struggled with this. When you’ve been blessed with the sort of fuckwit who goes years without seeing his son, never remembers his birthday or Christmas, owes thousands in back support, defies multiple court orders, but enjoys popping up occasionally to do a parenting victory lap? Hallmark greetings don’t quite express what I want to say. There is no “I Eternally Regret Breeding with You” card section.
So, no, I don’t get gooey thinking about the sperm donor who canceled his subscription to adulting. And neither should you.
Fathers’ Day is for fathers. The guys who show up. (In our house, that’s Mr. CL and my dad.)
Personally I don’t want to do anything
Honor that feeling. Sit with how OKAY it is to not want to do something thoughtful for the man you had a RESTRAINING order against. (Really, Hallmark has a woeful lack of cards for your situation too.)
The very best thing you can do now — like, you literally have a court order about this — is NOT engage with him.
but every time I pass a card display I just about have a conniption of sadness thinking about the day going by and him not getting anything, because I don’t think the kids are actually going to do anything.
You cannot protect your ex from the consequences of his actions. HIs relationship (or non-relationship) with his kids is HIS problem. It’s HIS crisis to fix. His relationships to heal. Your job is self-care and building a new life. Not playing chaos clean-up crew in Aisle 6.
Perhaps you’ve been habituated to making your ex’s feelings paramount to everyone else’s? Regardless of what he does? Decolonize your brain.
You could be projecting sadness where it doesn’t exist. You imagine YOU would be sad. He might just be hitting golf balls with Schmoopie that day, oblivious. In any case, his sadz is NOT your burden. It’s HIS.
I know that you would probably say just continue to be no contact. It’s not my job.
Oh hey, that’s exactly what I said.
But what do I do for me? Because believe it or not, the lack of a Father’s Day is a big void for me. And as I sit here with tears in my eyes over this, I can’t even believe I feel this way.
I think you’re missing the dream of what you thought four children with this man would be — a legacy, an intact family, security, a much happier ending. And you wanted the best your your children, as we all do. You wanted two parents who were fully invested in them. So, you’re grieving that loss. Holidays like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day do have a way of glorifying the Nuclear Intact Family. In the early days of divorce, those reminders have a way of making you feel less than, like Valentine’s Day can do for single people.
So I don’t think you feel sad for your ex so much as you feel sad for you. There’s been a father-shaped place and now there’s no father. You don’t have a dad to lean on and the man you invested so much of your life in turned out to be a fuckwit.
It happens, Muthachumper. Blog flipped 36 million this weekend. It happens to a LOT of people. This bred-with-a-fuckwit thing is an epidemic.
But what do I do for me?
Enjoy the weekend with your kids. Celebrate you. Divorce yourself from the idea that your family isn’t complete without a fuckwit. You have a whole family. You HAVE a legacy. The strength you are a modeling right now is a great legacy to your kids. You didn’t tolerate abuse. You’re STRONG. And, Mutha, you’re enough.
I know that’s become a self-help guru buzz phrase — you’re enough! But it resonates because it’s true — you’re ENOUGH. Void? What void? What don’t you bring to the table? Cheating? Verbal abuse? Restraining orders? Who are we missing?
You’re there and you can DO this gain-a-life thing. Divorce isn’t final yet, it’s totally normal to feel wobbly. But you’ll come out of this.
Meanwhile, don’t sent that card! Don’t send an ashtray or one of those leather handled shoe horns (who invented Dad gifts anyway?)
He may be your kids’ father forever and always, but he’s your EX.
Please make that forever and always.